Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Homemade Fabric Softener

This weekend the boys and I made Homemade Fabric Softener. It was so much fun to make! This is definitely a project the kids can help with. Hadyn said that he couldn't wait to tell his teacher that he was working with solutions and mixtures. (that's what they're learning about in science) Perfect timing!


What you need:


1/4 to 1/2 cup scent booster of your choice (I chose Purex Crystals)
1 cup baking soda
6 cups white distilled vinegar



Instructions:


Add the scent booster to one cup hot water. I used hot tap water. Stir the scent booster and let it set. Stirring occasionally. Add one cup baking soda to a large mixing bowl. Then VERY SLOWLY add six cups of vinegar. The vinegar bubbles up so make sure you pour it slowly. You could have one big mess on your hands! This was the fun part for the boys! I added one cup of vinegar at a time stirring in between each cup. Once the vinegar is in the bowl add the scent booster. Stirring very well. Then use a funnel to pour the mixture into a container of your choice. I used an old fabric softener bottle. It filled the bottle almost all the way and then I poured the rest into an old (clean) jar.

Before using the homemade fabric softener shake the bottle/jar very well. The scent booster settles to the bottom. A few shakes is all it takes. The bottle did spew a little bit the first few times so be careful when you open the bottle!





Scent booster dissolving in hot water. 





Adding vinegar to the baking soda.






Pouring the Homemade Fabric Softener into the jar.






Ta-da!! The finished product.


This was super easy to make and way cheaper than buy fabric softener every few months. I spent about $9.00 on everything. At first I thought that was a lot seeing how most fabric softeners run about $4.00. Once I started making the fabric softener though I realized that I'll be able to make it again with everything I bought at least 3 times. The only thing I'll have to replace is the vinegar. The baking soda and the crystals will last much longer. 



Thanks for Jill from One Good Thing for the awesome recipe!! 




Sunday, February 3, 2013

Homemade Bath Salts

I can't believe its been more than six months since I've posted something. I started working on my photography blog (Rachael Knight Photography in case you're interested!) and completely neglected this one. Shame on me! :o)

I've been interested in making homemade things for a while now. Thank you Pinterest!! But never really made the time for it. I was invited to a party where you bring something to make for 10 people and everyone else does the same thing. You end up making all these neat things and going home with tons of cool stuff. I ended up not being able to go but it started the fire!

I decided to make bath salts for the party. After looking at several different recipes I decided to mix a few and came up with my own little concoction. My two boys had a blast shaking the bags of salt and we all laughed as we decided how much scent should go into each bag. Too much, not enough. It was so much fun!

Homemade Bath Salts Recipe

1 cup of Epsom salts
1/4 cup of kosher salt
1/4 cup of sea salt
1 quart-size freezer-grade re-sealable plastic bag
Food coloring
Essential oils
Baking sheet
Wax paper
Funnel
Mason jars



Instructions

1. Place the salts into the plastic bag.
2. Add one drop of food coloring, close the bag and shake to distribute the color. Repeat this process until the desired color is achieved.
3. Add a couple drops of essential oil to the bag, close the bag and shake to distribute the scent. Repeat this process until the desired scent is achieved, about 5 to 10 drops.
4. Spread out the salts on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Allowing the salt to dry for 2 to 3 hours.
5. Carefully pour the salts into the jar with a funnel, then screw the lid tightly to preserve the scent.





Here's what you need!






Letting the salts dry. If you look close you can see little hand prints! The boys loved this part!





This was my husbands favorite part! Why are funnels so much fun?!



I hope you enjoy making this as much as we did! Now go enjoy a relaxing bath!! 








Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shutterfly

I don't know how many times I tell my kids to say thank you! Most of the time they're pretty good but not always. Being 5,000 miles away its hard sometimes. My boys aren't big fans of Skype. They talk for 3 or 4 minutes and then they're off. I feel bad for our family because I know they want to see the boys. Right now all they want to do is play! So the one thing I stress over is making sure they write thank you notes. It was never a big deal until we moved here because before we were always face to face. 

For the past 2 years we've always bought thank you cards, filled them out and then mailed them. I found out this Christmas that I could make a card at Shutterfly and they would actually mail the card for me! For someone who hates going to the post office I was more than excited! The cards they have here are outrageously expensive so I was even more surprised to find out its cheaper to have someone else mail them for me. Double excitement on my part!! Now I just go to the website download some cute pictures of the boys, have them tell me what they want to say and a few clicks later a super cute card appears and its ready to be mailed. I LOVE IT! So the next time you need to mail a card of any kind check out Shutterfly!

5x7 Folded Card


Navy Sky Band 5x7 folded card
Shutterfly has modern graduation announcements and photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Yummy Dinner Options

I just realized its been a whole month since I've wrote anything. I didn't think we would have a busy summer but I was wrong! We haven't done a whole lot but I've been just busy enough. I wanted to share 2 new recipes I found on Pinterest. They have become our summer favorites. We really like winter foods so I always have trouble when it comes to warmer months and dinner plans. I think we should live somewhere cold year around that way we can always have soup for dinner!

The first recipe we tried last night for the first time. I wanted to make sure I had the recipe right so I asked my husband (who was sitting at the computer) to pull up the website. As soon as he clicked on the page I could tell that he wasn't excited about the picture! He's picky eater, along with our kids! The recipe is so easy and besides cutting up the potatoes it was quick to make. To Kelly's surprise the dish was excellent! While we were eating he told me how worried he was while watching me make dinner but he said it tasted great! So this dish got two thumbs up from all my guys!

Chicken and Veggies

4 - 6 chicken breast
New Potatoes (I used Red Potatoes because that's all I had)
2 cans of green beans (you can use frozen green beans or broccoli, any veggies would work)
1 packet of Italian Dressing Mix
1 Stick of Melted Butter

Arrange the chicken in the bottom of a 9x13 dish. The picture shows the chicken in the middle but I put it on the bottom of the pan and then covered it with the veggies. One side potatoes and the other side green beans. Then sprinkle the Italian Dressing mix over the dish and the melted butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.




The next recipe is like a mini Thanksgiving dinner! I was really excited to try this recipe. We've had it several times and it's great every time!

Chicken Foil Packs

1 Package Stuffing mix; chicken flavor
1 1/4 cup Water
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
4 Cups Broccoli Florets
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
4 Slices Cooked Bacon; crumbled
4 tbsp Ranch Dressing divided

Set your oven at 400 degrees. Spray 4 large sheets of heavy duty foil with Pam. I usually double up the foil just in case! Combine stuffing mix and water. Spoon 1/4 stuffing mixture onto the center of each foil sheet. Top stuffing with chicken breast. Top chicken with 1 cup broccoli. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese and 1 slice of crumbled bacon. Drizzle with 1 tbsp Ranch Dressing. Bring up foil sides and fold to seal, leaving room for the heat to circulate. Place packets on a cookie sheet and back 25 - 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. It should slide right onto your plate!

Chicken Foil Packs Here is the website with pictures. Thanks Best Life 4 Moms for creating this yummy recipe!


I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!




Monday, June 25, 2012

Pin It

I absolutely love Pinterest! If you haven't started using this website yet you are missing out! I have found everything from getting wax out of a candle so you can reuse the jar to dinner and dessert. Every dinner this week on my weekly planner is from this lovely little website! The idea is to put things on your Pinterest page that you like. Then other people follow you because they like similar things. So its just a whole bunch of different pins from a whole bunch of different people. Some of the people I follow I don't even know. It just goes to show that even if we don't live in the same city or the same country we are all very much alike. So go on over to Pinterest and start pinning!!

Follow me if you'd like! It just takes one click!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Open Sesame or not

I love how a bad day can turn out to be a good day. This morning we were running a little late like always! I try to leave the house 5 minutes early that way we have plenty of time because we usually leave the house at exactly the right time. So I tell myself, we have to leave by 7:15 to get to the bus on time. When actually we need to leave by 7:20. This morning it was raining and I don't just mean sprinkling. The boys and I get in the car and I open the gate to leave our driveway. When I start to pull forward I realize that the gate didn't open. I say to myself, really?! (For those of you that don't know me well, its my favorite word!) So I open it again, only this time it wouldn't open. Darn gate! In Italy everyone has a gate that either leads to their house or their parking lot/drive way. We have a big parking area in the front and a smaller one in the back. We usually park up front because we have a huge American car. Sometimes the gate doesn't work. Its like everything else, it has its days! Back to the story, I try several times to open the gate and nothing happens. At this point I realize its going to be a bad day and the boys aren't going to make it to the bus. So I wake up Kelly. (He has training all week so I was letting him sleep) He rides his bike to the station so I knew I would have to drive him to work anyway. Back to our gate. Since it won't open we have to use the key. That means getting out of our dry car and standing in the rain. Not fun at all! The only problem is we can't find the key to open the box. Of course, right! After searching the house for the key, we are finally ready to leave. By the time we get outside its raining much harder than before. So Kelly and I are not in the best of moods. Soaking wet at 7:45 in the morning is just awful! We'll just say that no one said a word all the way to school. Once we get close we realize that God must have stopped time for us because its only 8:00. It usually takes about 10 minutes to get to base but between 7:30 and 9:00 it usually takes 20 minutes or more. That's why the boys ride the bus! The mood in the car starts to lighten. While we're sitting at the round-about waiting on our turn. Kelly says look, "There's a rainbow over Monte Berico." (Monte Berico is a church on top of a hill in Vicenza. When its not foggy/smoggy you can see it from almost everywhere) It was a huge rainbow! The colors weren't super bright but it was beautiful! That rainbow was just for us! We got the boys to school before the second bell rang at 8:10. Kelly and I did our usual and went for coffee. It's my favorite thing that we do. We don't really have a babysitter here so that is our date time. As we're having coffee the crazy morning slowly leaves our mind. It doesn't matter now. When I look back on Monte Berico as I'm driving home I remember that God didn't promise us perfect days, but He did promise that he'd always be there through rain and shine! I'll say it again, I love when a bad day turns out to be a good one!



Monte Berico - standing right beside it. This one of my favorite pictures!


Another picture of Monte Berico. This time you can see the bell tower. It is such a beautiful church. Its something I looking forward to seeing (almost) every day.